Every "Scary Movie" In The Franchise Ranked, According To Rotten Tomatoes

Which Scary Movie is the best? As genre parody movies, the franchise tried to stay within the horror genre but frequently found itself reaching outside horror movies to make many pop culture references, and it had varying degrees of success over the years.

The films couldn't always succeed at being a hit with either audiences or critics as the pop culture references could become dated before the movie was even done playing in theaters. However, not all of them were as badly reviewed as some may assume.

Updated on September 10th, 2021 by Mark Birrell: Comedy movie fans are once again finding themselves looking back at some of the funniest performances of Regina Hall's career thanks to the recent critical success of Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.Though she didn't appear in all the films, it's clear from the critical consensus on Rotten Tomatoes that she featured prominently in the best Scary Movie installments in the series.


5 Scary Movie 5 (2013) – 4%

Ashley Tisdale as Jodi screaming on the floor as a baby looks on in Scary Movie 5

● Available to stream on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Paramount+

Coming in at last place, Scary Movie 5only received 4% on Rotten Tomatoes. The final movie was helmed by Girls Trip and Night School director Malcolm D. Lee and was written by David Zucker, who directed the two previous films, and Pat Proft.

Scary Movie 4 marked Anna Faris's last appearance in the franchise, and the leading role this time around was given to former Disney Channel star Ashley Tisdale. Scary Movie 5 parodies Paranormal Activity, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Black Swan, and many more. Like its predecessors, it also features an array of guest stars and cameos. But critics considered this to be the final straw. In a scathing review of the film for The Washington Post, Stephanie Merry wrote: "As long as people keep watching these inept films, the Scary Movie franchise will thrive and reproduce. And that is a truly terrifying prospect."

4 Scary Movie 2 (2001) – 14%

The main characters looking scared in the foyer of the house in Scary Movie 2

● Available to stream on HBO Max

Using The Amityville Horror, The Exorcist, Poltergeist, the remake of The Haunting, and many more as the source of its jokes, Scary Movie 2 brought back its main characters for a much more conventional kind of sequel. Like the other movies in the franchise, it also makes fun of well-known horror movie tropes, such as a group of people splitting up in the midst of a dangerous situation.

Critics were not as enthusiastic about the first sequel as they were about the original movie, however, with Marjorie Baumgarten writing for the Austin Chronicle: "The whole thing reeks of sequelitis, with an emphasis on the rude and crude."

3 Scary Movie 4 (2006) – 34%

Shaq and Dr. Phil chained up ina bathroom in Scary Movie 4

● Available to stream on Netflix

Scary Movie 4 is the final installment to star main cast members Anna Faris and Regina Hall. Reuniting to face another terrifying adventure, best friends Cindy and Brenda continue to live a life of hilarious horror as they once again are at the center of terrifying events. This time, the duo is thrown into the world of Saw.

However, that is not the only film to be parodied. The Grudge and War of the Worlds are also central to the spoof's plot. James Earl Jones even makes a cameo and narrates the conclusion to the movie as a nod to Spielberg's War of the Worlds. However, like with Scary Movie 2, more references to things outside the horror genre didn't help the franchise's reputation with critics, with Anna Smith of Time Out writing: "The Scary Movie franchise has become little more than an excuse to parody recent big movies – badly."

2 Scary Movie 3 (2003) – 35%

Anna Faris as Cindy looking shocked in Scary Movie 3

● Available to stream on HBO Max

Using The Ringand Signs as primary sources of inspiration, the third movie sees Anna Faris and Regina Hall reprise their roles as Cindy and Brenda to once again have their lives terrorized by well-known horror movie villains.

As a change of pace from the previous films in the series, Scary Movie 3 was directed by comedy legend David Zucker–who, with creative partners Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams, created beloved hits like Airplane!–and written by successful comedy movie writers Craig Mazin and Pat Proft. It worked somewhat for audiences and critics, with Owen Gleiberman writing in a review for Entertainment Weekly that "Like its two predecessors, Scary Movie 3 is a hit-or-miss affair, but the gags that connect really connect."

1 Scary Movie (2000) – 52%

Poster for Scary movie with cast.

● Available to stream on HBO Max

Scary Movie is rated the best in the franchise by critics at a relatively high 52% on Rotten Tomatoes. Making fun of Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer among many others, the first movie in the franchise follows Cindy and her friends as a mysterious killer works their way through town. The parody also includes several cameo appearances, including James Van Der Beek portraying a character meant to reference Dawson's Creek, but it's the main cast who make the movie. In a positive review, Bob Graham of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: "The rude gleefulness of the ensemble cast ricochets off the screen and around the theater."

Keenen Ivory Wayans directed the movie, and there were several notable screenwriters credited for the script. They included Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Buddy Johnson, Phil Beauman, Jason Friedberg, and Aaron Seltzer. Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer would themselves also go on to find similar financial success and critical failure years later as the screenwriters of parody movies Vampires Suck, Date Movie, Epic Movie, and The Starving Games.

NEXT: 20 Best Parody Movies, According To Rotten Tomatoes